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Culture Of Egypt Cultural Studies - Ajit Tiwari - TanayMishra - SujeetUpadhyay - UdayShreshtha
Introduction: The culture of Egypt has six thousand years of recorded history. Egypt is well known for its ancient civilization with famous landmarks such as Giza Pyramid Complex and the Great Sphinx located in it.Egypt came under the influence of Hellenism, for a time into Christianity, and later, Islamic culture. Today, many aspects of Egypt's ancient culture exist in interaction with newer elements, including the influence of modern Western culture.
Egyptian Society & Culture: Islam : Islam is practised by the majority of Egyptians and governs their personal, political, economic and legal lives. The Prophet Muhammad is seen as the last of God's emissaries (following in the footsteps of Jesus, Moses, Abraham, etc) to bring revelation to mankind. He was distinguished with bringing a message for the whole of mankind, rather than just to a certain peoples. As Moses brought the Torah and Jesus the Bible, Muhammad brought the last book, the Quran. The Quran and the actions of the Prophet (the Sunnah) are used as the basis for all guidance in the religion. Among certain obligations for Muslims are to pray five times a day - at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset, and evening. The exact time is listed in the local newspaper each day. Friday is the Muslim holy day. Everything is closed. Many companies also close on Thursday, making the weekend Thursday and Friday. During the holy month of Ramadan all Muslims must fast from dawn to dusk and are only permitted to work six hours per day. Fasting includes no eating, drinking, cigarette smoking, or gum chewing. Expatriates are not required to fast; however, they must not eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum in public. Each night at sunset, families and friends gather together to celebrate the breaking of the fast (iftar). The festivities often continue well into the night. In general, things happen more slowly during Ramadan. Many businesses operate on a reduced schedule. Shops may be open and closed at unusual times.
Egyptian clothing : Women: A woman traditionally wears a black outer dress over her brightly colored housedress and covers her hair with a long veil, which often sweeps the ground behind her. Men: Men dresses in a long robe (galabayya), cotton in summer and wool in winter. They cover their head with a scarf wound like a turban and in the winter adds a wool jacket. The robes of both sexes cover the entire body, but their looseness allows a cooling circulation of air and serves as insulation. Although the black garments of the women heat up slightly quicker than the paler galabayyas, both, contrary to popular belief, maintain about the same temperature.
Language in Egypt: For almost 13 centuries Arabic has been the written and spoken language of Egypt. Arabic has become the language of both, the Egyptian Christian and Muslim. The written form of the Arabic language, in grammar and syntax, has remained substantially unchanged since the 7th century. In other ways, however, the written language has changed the modern forms of style, word sequence, and phraseology are simpler and more flexible than in classical Arabic and are often directly derivative of English or French.
Cuisine : Thousands of years ago, ancient Egyptians left evidence of their love for food. Well-preserved wall paintings and carvings have been discovered on tombs and temples, depicting large feasts and a variety of foods. Many of these ancient foods are still eaten in Egyptian households today. Peas, beans, cucumbers, dates, figs, and grapes were popular fruits and vegetables in ancient times. Wheat and barley, ancient staple crops, were used to make bread(aysh) and beer. Fish and poultry were also popular. The unique Egyptian cuisine has been influenced throughout history, particularly by its neighbors from the Middle East. Persians (modern-day Iraqis), Greeks, Romans (modern-day Italians), Arabs, and Ottomans (from modern-day Turkey) first influenced Egyptian cuisine thousands of years ago. More recently, the foods of other Arabic people in the Middle East such as the Lebanese, Palestinians, Syrians, as well as some foods from Europe, have affected the Egyptian diet. However, Egyptian cuisine maintains its uniqueness. After thousands of years, rice and bread (aysh) remain staple foods, and molokhiyya (a spinach-like vegetable) and fulmudammas (cooked, creamy fava beans), a national dish, are nearly as popular as long ago.
Family Values: . The family is the most significant unit of Egyptian society. . Family relationsip plays an important role in all social relations. . The individual is always subordinate to the family, tribe or group. . Nepotism is viewed positively, since it is patronage of one's family.. The family consists of both the nuclear and the extended family. Social Class: . Social class is very apparent in Egypt since it determines your access to power and position.. The social class as an Egyptian is born into dictates their everyday life and the opportunities they will have. . There are three social classes: upper, middle, and lower. . Status is defined more by family background than by absolute wealth.. There is little social mobility.
Meeting Etiquette: . Greetings are based on both class and the religion of the person.. Handshakes are the customary greeting among individuals of the same sex.. Handshakes are somewhat limp and prolonged, although they are always given with a hearty smile and direct eye contact.. Once a relationship has developed, it is common to kiss on one cheek and then the other while shaking hands, men with men and women with women. . In any greeting between men and women, the woman must extend her hand first. If she does not, a man should bow his head in greeting.
The pyramids, Sphinx, and other such large monuments of Egyptian culture are still in existence today, creating a great tourist incentive Today, Egypt is still an important cultural center. Modern Egypt retains the river which made its predecessor so powerful—the Nile River—and also the more modern Suez Canal, which connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean.